Skip to content

Publications

The Role of New Technology in Advancing African Agri-Food Systems

Discussion Paper

Publication "The Role of New Technology in Advancing African Agri-Food Systems"

The Role of New Technology in Advancing African Agri-Food Systems

Issued on the occasion of The Africa Roundtable “Growing Africa’s Future: Advancing Food Sovereignty through Agricultural Innovation” in May 2024, authored by partner Future Africa Consulting

The Role of New Technology in Advancing African Agri-Food Systems

May 7, 2024

African food systems are shaped by national, continental, and global megatrends. These include a burgeoning middleclass; urbanization and related shifts in food demand; dietary preferences and downstream modernization of food systems; a laborforce shift from farm jobs to nonfarm jobs; and increasing scarcity in farmland.

The continent’s overreliance on imports and food-aid makes it susceptible to supply and price shocks, threatening food sovereignty. Despite having 65% of the world’s unutilized arable land, over 80% of Africa’s basic food imports, comprising of basic and processed foods (mainly wheat, edible oil, maize, and rice), are sourced from outside the continent, and cost an estimated USD 50 billion per year. Moreover, food-aid initiative policies often undermine the continent’s initiatives to produce food locally.

Current efforts to bolster food security across the continent are at various stages of adoption and scale. The discussion paper explores opportunities to drive agricultural innovation across the continent and offers recommendations for stakeholders from the public, Private, and Development Sector.

Technology Spotlights in Innovation

  • Index-Based Agricultural Insurance

    With index-based insurance, payouts are based on objective indices that neither farmers nor insurers can influence. It eliminates the need for individual loss assessments and in turn reduces long-term administrative costs through standardisation and automation. This presents a clear opportunity for growth, but there is still a need to improve the accuracy and affordability of these products.

  • Smart Irrigation Methods

    Artificial intelligence helps farmers monitor and optimize their irrigation strategies. AI algorithms can accurately calculate weather conditions as well as water needs and availability. Combined with AI-driven smart sensors that continuously monitor soil moisture levels, this can save water and promote plant health.

  • Emerging Blockchain Applications

    Blockchain technology facilitates seamless traceability along the value chain, enabling direct exchange between producers and consumers without intermediaries. This promises African farmers fair prices for their produce. However, the effective adoption of blockchain technology on a bigger scale requires an appropriate infrastructure.

  • Digital Financing Solutions

    Inclusive digital finance solutions reduce the costs and risks of agricultural lending. They shorten processing times, increase transparency and enable a wider range of loans, such as financing for vehicles and inputs. Digital finance could close the annual financing gap of 74.5 billion USD for African agricultural small- and medium-sized enterprises (agri-SMEs).

Contact Persons

Stephanie Igunbor, s.igunbor@globalperspectives.org

Publications

Our collaborative publications aim to stimulate questioning and discussion. They are the result of a deep engagement with the focus topics of our work and enable a fact-based dialogue.

Program Archive

Circle
Discussing Development Policies in a Multipolar World
Background Discussion with Anna Bjerde

In conversation with Anna Bjerde and other representatives from politics, business, and academia, we discussed efforts in fostering sustainable development.

Publications
Growing Africa’s Future
Five Themes to Advance Food Sovereignty on the Continent

The research paper on food sovereignity in Africa was issued on the occasion of The Africa Roundtable “Growing Africa's Future” 2024 in Berlin.

Circle
Germany’s Responsibility in Today’s Changing World
Background Discussion with Bill Gates

Together with Bill Gates, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and other representatives from politics, business and academia, we discussed Germany's new role in the world.

Digital Salon
Global Perspectives on: Forestry
How Forestry can be a Driver for Economic and Social Political Development

Forests play a vital role in local economies and global climate protection. In our webinar, we explored how economic growth and environmental protection go hand in hand.

Conference
The Africa Roundtable N°6
Growing Africa’s Future: Advancing Food Sovereignty through Agricultural Innovation

The sixth edition of the Africa Roundtable focuses on how the African continent can unlock its full potential as an agricultural powerhouse.

Circle
Adapting the Global Financial Architecture
Leveraging IDA for Multilateral Solutions

Together with experts from politics, academia and civil society, we discussed the need to reform the global financial architecture.

Digital Salon
Global Perspectives on: AI
How to Leverage Homegrown AI Solutions for Economic Growth in Africa

Africa is experiencing an AI boom, but challenges persist. In our webinar, we explore the transformative potential of digital sovereignty together with AI experts.

Circle
Skills and Mobility
Why Africa’s Youth Is Key in Creating a Win-Win Situation for Europe and the African Continent

Fostering mobility is considered one of the most important solutions to the skills gap on the African continent. We discuss this at the follow-up to the fifth edition of The Africa Roundtable.

Publications
The Africa Roundtable N°5
Action Recommendations

Strategies for education, skill building and the labor market of tomorrow. The action recommendations of the fifth conference.

Newsletter Sign-up

Sign up to the Global Perspectives Initiative's newsletter and stay up to date on our program. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Global Perspectives Initiative
Friedrichstraße 217
10969 Berlin

office@globalperspectives.org
+49 (0) 30 55 57 80 530

The Global Perspectives Initiative (GPI) is a non-profit and independent platform based in Berlin, Germany. GPI works towards enhanced engagement and responsibility for sustainable development by German and European decision-makers and aims to strengthen African perspectives in policymaking.

To this end, GPI regularly brings together decision- makers from politics, business, civil society, academia and media to discuss new approaches, provide new impulses and raise awareness on the common opportunities and challenges the two neighboring continents are facing.

©2024 Global Perspectives Initiative gemeinnützige UG (haftungsbeschränkt)